Exploring the world of watches on a budget

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver

Rochester, New York is likely not the first place that springs to mind when you think of dive watches, but Ocean Crawler aims to change that. This small brand has been turning out rugged, capable watches for a couple of years now; each new model more attractive than the last. For this review, I borrowed a Dream Diver, with a glorious deep red dial. 

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red
The watch arrived in a well-appointed wood grain case that is padded, lined, wrapped, stitched, the works. Regular readers know I have no use for this kind of display bow and even less love, but even I have to begrudgingly admit that as far as boxes go, this one is mighty nice. It’s like the interior of a luxury car. I half expected it to come with a sunroof and seat warmers.

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red box

Ocean Crawler watches are built to stand out, and the Dream Diver is no exception. Measuring 44mm wide, 52mm long, and 15mm thick, this brushed and polished stainless steel beast occupied every bit of surface area on my 6.75” wrist. 

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red wrist

Now, this is not a bad thing as the watch makes no pretense of being anything other than a burly dive tool. The bigness isn’t just for visual impact, it is also for physical effect. Like all Ocean Crawler watches, the Dream Diver is shock protected to withstand a 6000 G impact. It features a 3.5mm thick domed and anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. It also contains sufficient gaskets for 600m water resistance and a helium release valve because ... well, you never know when you will want to give mixed-gas saturation diving a whirl. The watch packs a lot, and all that mass has to go somewhere, so it is something we small-wristed folk must bear in mind. Incidentally, Ocean Crawler showed off a pair of 39mm prototypes at the recent District Time Watch Show that were amazing. Stay tuned.

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red case back

Out back, you will find a solid, threaded case back bearing the brand name, logo, serial number, and the “crawler” trilobite. Behind it lies a smooth (28.8k both) Swiss Sellita SW-200 Automatic. 

Tough as it may be, what struck me most about the Dream Diver was its appearance. This is no doubt due in part because of my priorities (I don’t dive, but I do preen) but also because the watch is so damned handsome. The matte-finished and engraved bezel (unidirectional and 120-click, of course) is staggered and lumed on the 10s. The signed head and underside of the screw-down crown curve slightly, giving it a trim, tailored look despite its generous size and toothy edge. 

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red side

Then we get the dial. Ocean Crawler offers this model in bright orange, as well as blue carbon fiber or basic black in DLC black cases, but this dark sunray red won me over. The lush, jewel-tone has marvelous depth and provides more than adequate contrast for easy legibility. Applied and polished hour markers dominate the dial, pushing the numerals to the chapter ring. Needle tips on the black syringe hands overlap their markers. Quite a bit of text has been squeezed onto this dial, but there is more than enough space to fit the large OC logo and the model name its striking signature script. The white framed, white date strikes a pleasing balance with the quadrilateral hour markers. Peer down to the 6 o’clock marker, and you will see the watch’s home town is proudly wrapped on either side. It is a stunning dial. 

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red

Of course, you would expect a proper diver to have a healthy dose of lume. The Dream Diver’s SuperLuminova lights up like a torch. 

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red lume

Buyers will get two 22mm straps with their Dream Diver: black waterproof canvas and leather. This sample arrived with two canvas straps, one with white stitching, the other orange, both with brushed and signed buckles. I liked the canvas. I firmly believe every dive watch should come standard with a waterproof strap, but I am generally ambivalent about most rubber ones and growing kind of weary of nylon pass-throughs. Leather-backed canvas is a fine practical alternative that strikes the right sporty tone.

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver strap

The Dream Diver sells for $999 on the Ocean Crawler site. This is not exactly cheap, but you are getting quite a lot of watch and a Swiss movement to boot. The Dream Diver is a limited edition, and only 100 will be red, so if you want one, head on over to OceanCrawler.com. 

Ocean Crawler Dream Diver red

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